Ruling is good news for industrial property sector

Developers are less likely to be hit with empty rates charges as soon as a new building is complete, following a recent Lands tribunal ruling.

Experts at PwC said the ruling, which also gives developers greater certainty on when empty rates will bite, should provide a fillip for the industrial property sector.

The tribunal ruling concerned rates being levied on new industrial units and comes hot on the heels of a similar ruling for newly built office developments.

David Sparke, director and property expert at PwC Leeds, said: “There is now a lot more certainty in the rating system. Since empty rate charges were increased to 100 per cent five years ago, many developers have been nervous about giving a green light to new industrial buildings.

“A new development could become subject to rates without warning and often retrospectively.

“The recent tribunal case confirms the power to levy rates on new, empty and unfinished buildings lies with a local authority rather than the valuation office, and they cannot be applied retrospectively.

“Developers will now have leeway to market their properties before empty rates are charged, if at all, which should be a welcome boost to the industrial property sector.”